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A standing-room only pit ticket to one of Taylor Swift’s June concerts at Soldier Field in Chicago could cost you $895. Some would say that’s a high price to pay to see songs from “Reputation” performed live.
Before you drop a few hundred (or thousand) dollars on concert tickets, here are seven ways to save money on a live show. While every tip won’t apply to every show, you can use this list to find the strategies that will work for you.
1. Sit near the back
You won’t have the best view, but you’ll still hear the music. In general, a seat farther back at a concert costs less than sitting in the first row. Take a look at the price for nosebleed seats before you dish out more for the front section.
2. Buy from a reseller
Check out resale tickets from verified secondary sellers and ticket resale brokers — which can be offered at a better price and with a guarantee, according to Gary Adler, executive director and counsel of the National Association of Ticket Brokers (NATB), a nonprofit trade association and a member of the Council of Better Business Bureau’s National Partner program.
When in doubt, check a broker on VerifiedTicketSource.com to see if it’s an NATB member. Adler says members provide a 200% money-back guarantee if tickets aren’t delivered as specified.
Other resale options include ticket search engines or marketplaces, such as SeatGeek and StubHub, which are platforms for buying and selling tickets. Look for a guarantee at these sites as well.
Avoid potentially untrustworthy purchases, such as from an ad on Craigslist or someone on the street. “I really don’t like when people buy tickets outside of a venue,” Adler says. “I think that’s a really bad move.”
3. Wait until the last minute
While concert ticket prices are unpredictable, in some cases prices could drop as the performance approaches, says Chris Leyden, communications manager at SeatGeek.
Leyden says he once saw discounted same-day tickets on SeatGeek to a Miranda Lambert concert in Newark, New Jersey. “There were floor tickets for less than $10 because the concert was starting in less than two hours, it was a snowy day and people didn’t want to travel,” he says.
If you can attend a performance on a whim — or prices are too high ahead of time — check ticket marketplace websites and apps leading up to the show to see if sellers are unloading tickets for less.
4. Skip town
Ticket prices can vary depending on the location of the concert — even for the same artist and the same tour, Leyden says. Compare prices at concert venues to find lower prices.
“Check out the nearby shows,” Leyden says. “You don’t have to take a massive trip where you fly from Miami to St. Louis. If you live in New York, you can do a quick weekend trip to Philly or a weekend trip to Boston.”
5. Sit solo
When searching resale options, you’ll generally see better deals on single tickets, says Jessica Erskine, a spokesperson for StubHub.
“Often someone might buy tickets in threes or fours and have one friend who can’t make it, and they’re trying to sell that one ticket,” Erskine says. “It’s so hard to find someone who’s willing to go to a show as a single guest that often you can find single-price tickets at lower prices.”
6. Attend shows at the fair
OK, maybe Taylor Swift still isn’t in your budget. If you’re not picky about who you want to see live, check the fair circuit. Some county fairs grant free admission to a concert along with paid entry to the fair, which usually costs less than a concert ticket.
7. Earn cash back
Use cash-back websites like Ebates and BeFrugal, where you can earn money on purchases at select ticketing websites. For example, Ebates is offering up to 5% back at Ticketmaster. And for those trekking to out-of-town venues, luxury cash-back site Jewel, for example, offers money back on select travel. To earn cash back, become a member of the site and visit the portal before you make your purchase.